OK, Here's A Plan
OK, what exactly should we do in Iraq?
Option One: We keep doing what we're already doing -- the White House approach. Theme song: "Give War a Chance." ...
Option Two: We do something different. Instead of calling up the last few idle reservists -- the middle-school boys and girls in Junior ROTC, maybe -- we withdraw troops. (Go ahead, call it "redeployment" if it makes you feel better).
Want nitty-gritty details on who/what/where/when/how? For those who like to dig their teeth into think tank reports, I recommend "How to Redeploy: Implementing a Responsible Drawdown of U.S. Forces from Iraq." Released this week by the Center for American Progress, the report's lead author is Lawrence Korb, a guy who knows his stuff.
Korb, who served during the Reagan administration as assistant secretary of Defense for manpower, reserve affairs, installations and logistics, recommends redeploying U.S. troops over a period of 10 to 12 months. That time frame allows for the removal of weaponry and sensitive equipment, without the expense and exposure of more extended drawdown periods -- and it gives local and national Iraqi authorities a reasonable opportunity to prepare for our absence.
As troops rotate out at the end of their tours, they would not be replaced; remaining troops would be repositioned from more stable peripheral regions of Iraq and consolidated in Baghdad until only a small number of Marines remain to protect civilian personnel at a downsized U.S. Embassy. Two brigades would also remain for a year in the Kurdish region.
But what about the Iraqis? What happens to them during and after the troop withdrawal? Our Ms. Brooks also dug into some of the other Center For American Progress reports to answer that question:
We long ago squandered any capacity to guarantee a happy ending for the Iraqis. But, as several other recent Center for American Progress reports suggest, there are still steps we can take to minimize the chance that a U.S. withdrawal will make things worse for them.
First, accompany a U.S. troop drawdown with strong support for a robust U.N. presence in Iraq, a move that even Shiite militia leader Muqtada Sadr has indicated he would welcome.
Then, get serious about engaging Iran, Syria and other regional powers in stabilizing Iraq. All have plenty to lose if Iraq falls apart entirely.
Next, recognize that Iraq's fate -- and the continued rise of Islamic extremism and anti-Americanism -- is linked to ongoing Arab-Israeli tensions, and redouble efforts to resolve that long-running conflict.
Finally, welcome fleeing Iraqis into the United States. Stingy quotas and idiotic restrictions on where Iraqis can apply for U.S. visas have meant that only about 200 Iraqis have been resettled in the U.S. over the last 10 months. We need to make refugee resettlement easier, fast.
So, there's a plan, one that looks pretty responsible. Now, if only the Democrats in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail would do the kind of homework Ms. Brooks just did and then promote such a plan, maybe we could finally end the war sensibly.
In the November, 2006 election, the American public made it clear that ending the war was the top priority. It's up to the Democrats to do what they were elected to do.
Labels: Iraq War